Wonky Log Cabin Quilt!

OK. It’s another quilt. Yeah. I know. Send help!! It’s an obsession!

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

This is a gift for one of my dearest friends, one of the very first people I met when I moved to New York. She’s expecting a baby boy next month, and I’m just so excited to meet him!  So when I saw Miss Make‘s wonky log cabin tutorial, I knew I wanted to try it! I like that it’s a free-form way to build a quilt and that you don’t really need to be precise. Plus, the end results are so cool!

These quilt blocks came together really quickly, especially because I had help! My friend Carrie came over to help, so I cut and stitched and she pressed all the seams open- man, I wish I could always sew with an assistant! We came close to finishing the blocks in one afternoon! Piecing is a blast when you can chatter away the whole time! Anybody wanna be in a quilting bee with me? 🙂

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

The quilting part went much more smoothly on this quilt, thanks to the suggestions in The Practical Guide to Modern Patchwork.* I bought curved safety pins and they made a huge difference. And instead of trying to stitch in the ditch, I quilted 1/4″ from the seamlines inside each piece to kind of emphasize the irregular shapes created by the wonky log cabin process. It looks much better!

The only trouble I ran into with this project is that I found I needed more fabric than Devon suggested. I picked up an extra 3/8″ yard of fabric from the get-go and needed to buy another 3/8 to get the blocks to the correct size. So maybe grab a bit more just in case if you follow her tutorial.

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

Picking out coordinating prints was so much fun! My friend tends to wear lots of grey, so I wanted to start with grey and add in some soft color, but not go nuts with bright colors (always my first impulse!). She and her husband love cats, so I wanted a kitty print, and when I saw the dignified lion, it really made me laugh to include it with the kittens! Here are the fabrics I used, if anyone is interested:

I really liked making this quilt, mainly because it was fun to make something for a dear friend with another dear friend, but also because it’s so stress-free to construct quilt blocks this way. If you’re looking for a way to try out quilting but you’re worried about accuracy, you should really give this a try! C’mon, do it!! We can be quilt-obsessed together!

wonky log cabin quilt | Ginger Makes

*Before I forget, the winner of the Practical Guide to Modern Patchwork giveaway is Laura! Congrats!!! Also, I just realized I never announced the winner of the Girly Style Wardrobe giveaway! It was Raquel from JC… I sent her the book ages ago, but forgot to mention it on the blog! Hope you’re enjoying the book, Raquel!

By Hand London Anna Dress: Back Neckline Adjustment!

Hey-o! Hope you busy little bees are all having a great day!  Today I have something a little different for you– a tutorial!  I promised to show you guys how I removed excess fabric from the back of my Anna dress.  I’m not great with PhotoShop, so I just hand-drew some shoddy illustrations… please forgive the crudeness!  Also, I’m not a professional and there are probably many other/better ways to do this.  This is just what worked for me.  🙂

OK, let’s do it!  This is a common alteration for me, but I had to really think through how to do it as my usual method doesn’t work so well on a garment with kimono sleeves.  I know several sewists just turned the excess fabric into darts, but I didn’t really want to do that. Here’s what I did instead:

[NOTE: This is an alteration to the pattern piece, so you need to do it BEFORE cutting into your fabric.]

First, figure out how much excess fabric you need to take out (you can do this by pinching it as though you’re making a dart, pinning it, and then measuring how much you’ve removed).  Jot down how much you need to remove if you’re like me and forget everything!

OK, so here’s your back bodice:

Now,  draw a straight line from the underarm curve to the middle of the neckline, landing about where the excess fabric gapes the most:

Stop your line right before you get into the seam allowance on the underarm side (so, 5/8″ from the edge).  Cut along this line.

Next, overlap the pattern along the cut edge by the proper amount.  For me, a 3/8″ overlap was just the ticket.

This illustration is particularly bad– my apologies!

Does that make sense?  It should overlap the most at the shoulder area and taper out to nothing at the end of the cut line.  When you have it positioned nicely, tape it in place!

Now you want to smooth out the neckline curve.  Tape some extra paper behind the neckline, and using a French curve, just blend the line together nicely.

Perfect!  Cut this out, and you’re all done!

That was a trick.  You’re SO not done, missy!  Get back here!

Your final step is to adjust your back facing to reflect the changes you just made to the bodice. You can slash and spread the facing the same way that you did the back bodice, or you can be lazy like me and just quickly draft a new one.

The facing is about 3.5″ wide, so I just measured down on my new back bodice piece and placed little dots at that mark:

The actual dots I used were, um, measured instead of sloppily eyeballed… whoops.

Then you can lay some tracing paper on top and just trace alone the dotted line to make your new, perfectly-matched facing!  NOW you’re done!

As a reminder, the ladies of By Hand London are about to start a sewalong for this pattern, so I’m sure they will handle other fit adjustments along the way.  I just wanted to share this in case it helps any other narrow-shouldered types like myself that can’t wait for the sewalong!

Ginger Made: By Hand London Anna Dress!

O hai!  I made another dress!  It’s a super practical bright orange silk maxi dress– a wardrobe staple, if you will!  OK, this might be the single most impractical thing I’ve ever sewn, but I loooooooove it!

Let’s just go ahead and ignore the Snapple bottled discarded on the sidewalk. I don’t even notice trash on the ground anymore!

This is the Anna dress, the fab fourth pattern from the fierce gals of By Hand London!  (Sidenote: I met the lovely and elegant Charlotte of BHL earlier this month as she was passing through NYC and folks, she is as cool and fun as you might guess, plus a little more!  There’s a huge part of me that wants to run away to London and sew amazing clothes with these girls allllll day every day!  Come back to visit, Charlotte!)  Oona eloquently told the tale of how she and I came to make the same pattern for our August Mood Sewing Network projects, and how the reigning queen of Nashville, Lauren, joined in on the fun!  In short, we now have an Instagram-instigated trio of silken Anna dresses tearing through the internet– fun, yes?

OK, so, I know that “less is more” is a good mantra, but I was kind of in a “go big or go home” mood when I grabbed this amazing silk crepe de chine from Mood Fabrics NYC.  I’ve ogled this beauty before, twice in fact, but never really knew what to do with it, but the third time I saw it I knew it was destined to be an Anna dress!  I love the print so much that I wanted to wrap myself in it from head to toe, and a maxi dress is a slightly better option than a makeshift toga, right?

Hahaha, check out my neighbor in the background! You guys are seeing all the amazing sights from my ‘hood today!

Back to the pattern!  It’s a seven-gored skirt with pleats under the bust and kimono sleeves, all of which were new to me.  This is a real departure from my usual style, but it’s fun to play dress-up once in a while!  The pattern comes together easily, but holy cow, it took f o r e v e r to French seam all those long skirt panels!  It gives a nice, clean finish, though.  I removed 1.5″ of excess fabric at the back neckline after a muslin showed some gaping (I’ll show you how tomorrow, if you’re interested), and I shortened the skirt by 7″, based on a quick eyeballing of the length.  This was way too much!  I didn’t want this lovely fabric dragging on filthy New York sidewalks, but I got over-excited and didn’t really think it through.  Next time I’ll only shorten it by 4.5″.  Maxis can be a real fabric-suck, but luckily, with my shortened pieces, I could squeeze the whole dress out of 3 yards– hooray!

The crepe de chine was surprisingly easy to sew with!  It’s not slippery at all, especially compared to silk charmeuse or similar fabrics.  I used my walking foot to help keep the long seams lined up correctly, and I pinked the facing to stop it from showing through this lightweight fabric.  I understitched the facing, too, to help keep it from peeking out, and blind-stitched it to the shoulder seams on the inside.  Another thing that’s helpful to do with fabric this floaty is to stabilize the zipper opening before inserting it.  This prevents a wobbly, ripply zipper (yuck!).  You can baste strips of silk organza to the seam allowances, or just iron on some fusible interfacing– I’ve had good luck with both techniques!

This is such a happy dress!  The colors just make me feel so perky and fun!  I’m sure I’m an eyesore walking down the streets of New York in this shrieking color, but I can live with that.  There’s something kind of weirdly ’70’s about it that I’m not 100% thrilled about– you know those polyester floral maxi dresses worn by the likes of Dusty Springfield?  So I’m not sure about that, but I’m choosing to commit to this dress in its entirety.

I like to pretend like I’m heading to a fancy dinner in Waikiki when I put this on!  Hmm, I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii… Sadly, there aren’t any trips on my horizon, so I’ll have to settle for posing in front of my neighbor’s hibiscus.

Anyway, you should check out Lauren’s version of this dress here, and be sure to peep Oona’s fierce sheer version here!

Alright, how about you guys?  Anybody planning to sew the Anna dress?  I’ve really enjoyed the ones I’ve seen so far– there doesn’t seem to be a shape that it doesn’t flatter!  If you’re scared, there’s a sewalong gearing up on the By Hand London blog– details here!  How do you feel about maxi dresses– love?  Like?  Hate with a burning passion?  Finally, do you love Dusty Springfield with a passion that sometimes scares you?  Do YOU listen to “Dusty in Memphis” every time you’re home alone?